September 8, 2014 – by John Blair, valleywatch.net editor
On Monday, September 8, 2014, Valley Watch, along with steadfast colleagues, Citizens Action Coalition, Sierra Club and Save the Valley, achieved a rare victory in the Indiana Court of Appeals.
Duke Energy expects its customers to pay for its mismanagement, fraud and cost overruns at its nefarious, Edwardsport Generating Station in Knox County. In nearly ever one of the thirteen “dockets” Duke has initiated before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, whatever Duke has proposed has been pretty much rubber stamped by the Commission.
That was the case, even when then Governor Mitch Daniels was forced to fire the Chair of the Commission, David Hardy,
David Lott Hardy declares his support for Duke’s then proposed plant at the “Energy Summit of Southwest Indiana” the day after he presided over a public hearing in Bloomington that discussed the plant’s future. Photo © 2007 John Blair
under serious ethics violations due to the cozy relationship Hardy had with Duke management. In that scandal. Hardy’s protege, Scott Storms, who served as Chief Administrative Law Judge in many of the dockets applied for and got a job as Duke attorney while continuing to oversee the numerous cases.
Duke and the Daniels Administration pretty much ignored the reality of the cost of building the project (hear Valley Watch president, John Blair’s testimony before the IURC in a field hearing in August of 2007 in which he predicts, accurately, the future cost involved in building the plant here). Originally, Duke and Daniels claimed the plant would cost only $1.985 Billion but the final cost has risen to over $3.5 billion
In one of the recent dockets, the coalition of the four groups, each of which has intervened in all the rate cases, knew they had been screwed by the Commission and took the case to the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals determined that the commission had failed in its duty to protect ratepayers and that they should revisit a significant decision that had ratepayers pay $61 million to Duke for a plant that has yet to operate correctly in the more than a year it has been in service.
James Atterholt, currently serves as Chief Of Staff for Indiana Governor, Mike Pence was chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Photo © 2011 John Blair
Currently, Duke is suing the constructor, Bechtel, and equipment manufacturer , General Electric and both of them have in turn sued Duke in what has become a morass of attorneys and lawsuits.
It is anticipated that Duke will seek a re-hearing by the Court of Appeals or transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Valley Watch has long fought stupid ideas like Edwardsport, using mostly economic arguments to make our case. Unfortunately, the level of cronyism in Indiana’s government and the revolving door between government and the industry government is supposed to regulate, has precluded mush success over the seven years this case has been open.